Mark Hoffman and Earl J. Trostrud, Jr.’s Hooh Why posted a 17-to-1
upset winning the $150,000 Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf last
year with Frank Calabrese’s 3-to-2 favorite Romacaca second. The two
7-year-old mares will meet again in Saturday’s renewal of the 1 1/8
miles turf course test.
Hooh Why and Romacaca met again here last out in the $100,000 South
Beach Stakes going 7 ½ furlongs on Dec. 9 and Romacaca was the winner
with Hooh Why third, beaten a length for it all after shipping down from
her winter base at Tampa Bay Downs. Jockey Ron Allen Jr. gets a return
call on Hooh Why and Francisco Torres retains the mount on Romacaca in
the field of seven.
“We might have run her back too close in her last couple of starts,”
said co-owner and sometime trainer Mark Hoffman of Hooh Why. Hoffman
has hauled the widely-traveled mare to stakes engagements throughout the
east, mid-west and to Woodbine in Canada over several seasons. “This
time she’ll have 40 days since her last race and we’re coming with a
A daughter of Cloud Hopping, Hooh Why first burst on the national
stage as a 3-year-old in the spring of 2009 when she first came to
Gulfstream to finish second by a head in the Sunshine Millions Oaks
(discontinued). She was then shipped to California to finish third,
beaten a head for it all by Stardom Bound in the Santa Anita Oaks (G1)
before scoring the biggest victory of her career in the Ashland Stakes
(G1) at Keeneland.
The South Beach marked Hooh Why’s 12th start of the year and 47th of
her career in which she has posted 11 wins, 11 seconds and nine thirds
for earnings of more than $1.1 million. Naturally with her record Hooh
Why will have a future as a broodmare.
“That’s the plan this spring,” said Hoffman. “After this race we’ll
breed her and bring her back to run a couple of more times in foal. I
wouldn’t consider doing it if she wasn’t so sound.” Hooh Why will run
Saturday with Gulfstream-based Nicholas Gonzalez as trainer as she did
in the South Beach.
It has been nearly four years since Frank Calabrese claimed now
7-year-old Romacaca at Gulfstream Park for $25,000 out of her fourth
career start, and a victory on Saturday would push her career earnings
past the $1 million mark.
“She’s never been better and hasn’t lost a step,” said trainer Danny
Miller, who guided the daughter of Running Stag through most of her
3-year-old season after the claim and got her back in his barn last
summer at Arlington Park. “She may even be better with age as she
relaxes more in her races than she did when she was younger. We’ve been
pointing for this race since we got down here.
“She’s at an age where you would consider breeding her with what she
has accomplished, but we haven’t talked about that as yet. Frank
(Calabrese) loves to race. She’s very sound and there is no reason she
can’t continue to perform at the top level. Naturally, I’d like to keep
her in training.”
Romacaca won her first three starts after the claim for Miller,
including the Pucker Up Stakes (G3) at Arlington and has been a
consistently high-class turf stakes performer throughout her career of
16 victories from 32 starts. Other career highlights including victory
in the Matchmaker Stakes (G3) at Monmouth Park in 2011 and the Modesty
Handicap (G3) at Arlington in her first start back with Miller last
Completing the field for the Filly & Mare Turf are Farnsworth
Stable’s Speak Easy Gal (cross-entered in Distaff), Brinker Hill Farm’s
Millenia, Regalo Mia, Peter Vegso’s Refining and Gary Aiken’s Callmethesqueeze.